Caroline’s new loud friend strutted up the freshly shoveled pathway to the party at La Remise, Caroline a few feet behind. The sturdy looking man at the door asked, “Names?”
“Oh we won’t be on any public list, darling, we’re friends of Carl’s and he really didn’t want you-know-who finding out that he put two eligible bachelorettes on the list,” the loud stranger purred.
The man looked the ladies up and down. They were past their prime, sure, but both were clearly quite stunning and the loud one seemed to know everyone – already winking and cooing “hello darling, so good to see you” to passersby. Whether or not those passersby returned the greeting was about a 25% hit rate – but that was a detail only Caroline seemed to notice.
“Right, of course, have a good evening ladies.”
The restaurant had been transformed into a gorgeously decadent party chalet. The tables had been cleared to make a dance floor, tiny sparkling lights were everywhere, the chandeliers looked especially dazzling and the dancing revelers were all extraordinarily good looking. Something in the water in Chamonix…or in reality, it was likely the fact that every person in this room either skied or was in a spa all day.
Caroline had lent the loud stranger Emma’s opal necklace and the stranger appeared to be walking stridently chest-out in an effort to show it off. Or was that how she always walked? Caroline wondered but couldn’t remember. They had sneaked into Emma’s room, who was sleeping so soundly Caroline worried she might be dead until she heard a little snore, and taken the necklace from Emma’s bureau.
Caroline and the stranger had agreed that she really needed a little something extra to give her outfit a ‘wow’ factor and the airline wouldn’t be returning her luggage until the next day at the earliest. What was the harm as long as they returned it as soon as they got home?
While Caroline was taking in the scenery and getting caught up in the romance of the situation, the loud stranger had already sought out a rather pudgy man who was at least 20 years her senior. He had been dancing with someone who was clearly trying to stake her claim to him, skinny little arms draped all over his bald head and belly, but she had left him for just a moment, likely to get a few more glasses of champagne. Caroline watched as the loud stranger went after her prey. It was somewhat similar to how Caroline’s Cavalier King Charles puppy would attack a toy that had caught her eye. Slow. Slow. Slow. She would creep up to the toy on her belly with her legs dragging behind her, her little butt sticking out, and then boom! She would be on top of that stuffed hedgehog – poor guy didn’t even see it coming.
Just like that, the loud stranger and the chubster were on the dance floor. She was shimmying and shaking every little morsel of her body at her new beau while he sort of swayed back and forth, his girth keeping him from really partaking in this seduction. But his eyes were clearly enjoying the show.
Caroline was captivated. As she looked around the room, she saw she was not alone. Nobody could take their eyes off this strange mating dance. Caroline leaned over to the woman next to her and whispered, “Who is that man?”
The woman replied, “Ralph Cummings, he owns the entire resort, and that,” she gestured to the scorned woman with her nearly empty champagne flute, “is his long-time girlfriend.”
Caroline watched as Ralph’s former flame (of three minutes ago) came charging up to the entangled dancers and gave the loud stranger a little shove with her hip. This was going to be interesting, Caroline thought as she took another sip of champagne.